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Int J Cardiol. 2011 Jan 21;146(2):171-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2009.06.029. Epub 2009 Jul 16.

Left atrial volume and index by multi-detector computed tomography: comprehensive analysis from predictors of enlargement to predictive value for acute coronary syndrome (ROMICAT study).

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  • 1Cardiac MR PET CT Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.



We aimed to identify the predictors of left atrial (LA) enlargement by multi-detector computed tomography (CT) and determine its association and predictive value for acute coronary syndrome (ACS).


LA enlargement is associated with myocardial ischemia and coronary artery disease (CAD) and is a strong predictor for cardiovascular events. These studies were performed primarily with echocardiography. With the rise of cardiac CT, LA volume can be readily measured.


In 377 emergency department patients with chest pain, we performed 64-slice CT for coronary artery assessment. We derived LA volumes (LAV(max), LAV(min)) and indices (LAVI(max), LAVI(min)) using a threshold-based volumetric method.


Subjects, with cardiac risk factors or CAD by CT, had larger LA (ΔLAV(max) 9.1 ml, p=0.004; ΔLAV(min) 8.1 ml, p=0.001; ΔLAVI(max) 3.3 ml/m(2), p=0.03; ΔLAVI(min) 3.4 ml/m(2), p=0.006) than controls. Predictors of LA enlargement were related to risk factors for diastolic dysfunction. ACS risk was greater in patients with top quartile LAV(max) (odds ratio [OR] 3.4, p=0.02) and LAV(min) (OR 4.7, p=0.01) than lowest quartile, but not when indexed. Similarly, the predictive values of LA volumes were incrementally better when added to CT finding of indeterminate stenosis (LAV(max): C statistic 0.62 to 0.70, p=0.046; LAV(min): C statistic 0.65 to 0.73, p=0.008), but not when indexed.


Risk factors related to diastolic dysfunction are independent predictors of LA enlargement. LA enlargement by volumes are associated with a 3-5 fold increase risk for ACS and have incremental value for predicting ACS when added to the CT finding of indeterminate stenosis.

Copyright © 2009 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

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